Britain could leave Europe says Bayer UK chief executive

Leaving the European Union could have "positive economic consequences" for Britain, says Bayer UK chief executive Alexander Moscho.

Dr Alexander Moscho, the chief executive of Bayer UK and Ireland, said that Britain would be able to "survive" outside the European Union if it can sign a free-trade deal.

But, he warned that life would be "much more difficult" for companies that needed to employ people across Europe, warning that the "cracks" in the Eurozone could become "chasms" if Britain leaves.

Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, said in a speech this week: "This government has been given a very clear mandate to renegotiate Britain's relationship with the rest of the EU and to reform the EU so it works for all its citizens. We are determined to deliver a new settlement for Europe that works for everyone within it.

"The results of our efforts will be put to the British people in a referendum and they will decide.

"As part of that, our process of renegotiation must include engaging actively with our key partners in Europe and that's why today's meetings in Finland, Sweden and Denmark are so important."

But Moscho said in a Telegraph article: "Accountants make much of the potential economic consequences for both the UK and the EU of a 'Brexit'. Depending on who you believe, the impact could be disastrous or even positive. I believe it could also be neutral; if Britain can set up a working free-trade scheme with the EU, then the potential economic consequences might actually even be positive. Britain would survive.

"But life would be more difficult for companies that need and want to employ people from across Europe – just look at Switzerland and the impact their referendum had against remaining part of the EU labour market.

"The truth is that Europe needs Britain: your strength in diplomacy, your tenacity of spirit, to help refocus and develop the EU from inside. But Britain needs Europe: not simply to increase Britain's prosperity and productivity but to leverage your reach in the world and to continue to secure your priorities as a nation, for example, safeguarding London and the City as an outstanding financial centre, and maintaining the UK economy as a competitive and creative, world-leader.

"To me, from all I have come to know and admire about Britain, it doesn't seem terribly British to flee the challenge of changing the EU from within."

Bayer spoke of a plan to sell its home and garden consumer business earlier this year.

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